The final countdown of the 127th Argentine Open began on Saturday December 12, with a crucial match on field 1, at Palermo: RS Murus Sanctus vs. La Irenita. Still, RS Murus Sanctus had a chance to qualify to the final. In order to achieve that, RS Murus Sanctus had to defeat La Irenita, and then wait and see what happens with the result of the following match. More concreetely, they would be able to qualify to the championship game if La Dolfina beat La Natividad Las Monjitas by just one goal and score twelve goals or less.
After two leveled first chukkas, RS Murus Sanctus took off in the third period, through a brilliant and accurate Sapo Caset who produced four unanswered goals to hold La Irenita scoreless and take a commanding 7-3 advantage. After the explosive third chukka for RS Murus Sanctus, the fourth period belonged to a determined La Irenita foursome. This time was RS Murus Sanctus who were scoreless, courtesy of Facundo Fernández Llorente, Min Podestá and Juan Gris Zavaleta, who produced one field goal apiece to close the gap to just one goal. Therefore, by half time, RS Murus Sanctus was leading 8-7. Let’s go to the second part, then. Despite RS Murus Sanctus maintained and widened their lead, La Irenita managed to keep a close eye on them, however without any luck. With only one chukka remaining, RS Murus Sanctus had a five goal advantage. The combination Caset-Sola proved to be lethal in the last chukka; Caset’s contributions ended up in two great goals by Facundo Sola. And despite Juan Martín Zubía scored for La Irenita, RS Murus Sanctus got what they wanted, a 16-10 victory.
And the moment EVERYBODY was expecting arrived! The clash of La Natividad Las Monjitas and La Dolfina Saudi on Palermo’s main ground, the battle between the Castagnolas and Adolfo Cambiaso and Co. Undoubtedly, a match no one wanted to miss, most of all because it was the first time that La Natividad Las Monjitas would face the multiple champion, the Fab Four, with the complete 40-goal lineup, to battle on the world’s most remarkable ground worldwide with an eye set on the first spot in the championship game of the most coveted polo tournament worldwide.
La Dolfina had a terrific first chukka with goals scored by their four members; regardless the chukka ended with La Dolfina leading 4-1, Barto Castagnola hit a powerful neckshot in the last seconds of play to put the ball behind the goalposts. But La Dolfina’s dominance during the first half was overwhelming; and what’s most remarkable is that they only needed just a couple of games to fit with each other again, after a complicated start of the season, due to several unexpected injuries. So, despite La Natividad Las Monjitas’ efforts – a couple of good goals by Jeta Castagnola and Polito Pieres – the green jerseys, a real powerful team, were unable to stop the experienced contender who already took a heavy 11-4 lead by half time.
La Dolfina is La Dolfina, always; no matter what, they always manage to demonstrate why they are rated at 40, why they are multiple champions. In a challenging year, which also presented them with several complications, La Dolfina managed to arrive to their “home”, Palermo, with the complete lineup, to tell the world “we are here, we are back, and better than ever”. Maybe it was expected a much more balanced match against a very talented and young foursome like La Natividad Las Monjitas indeed, but the fact is that La Dolfina played one of their best games ever. They are magic; they simply know what to do, how to do and they do it very well.
The second half was no different at all from the first part; it just seemed a walk in the park for La Dolfina, while La Natividad Las Monjitas struggled and even seemed somewhat lost, since they were unable to do anything, at least to try to balance the scoreboard a bit more. With only one chukka remaining, things were already said and done – La Dolfina had a commanding 19-9 lead. Not only they played one of their best games ever by overwhelming their rivals, but in such a very difficult season for the Fab Four, they managed to reach what they were aiming at – earn the first ticket to another championship match. A place that suits them very well. By the way… For those who are fond of numbers, it is their 2oth final since the founding of La Dolfina, back in 2000 by Adolfo Cambiaso. This means that the Cañuelas-based foursome have been in ALL the finals in Palermo, with the exception of 2004.
Chapeau, La Dolfina!
RS MURUS SANCTUS 16-10 LA IRENITA
RS Murus Sanctus: Facundo Sola 9 (4 goals), Francisco Elizalde 8, Guillermo Caset 10 (11, three penalties), Alfredo Cappella Barabucci 8 (1). Total: 35.
La Irenita: Martín Podestá 7 (1), Juan Martín Zavaleta 8 (1), Facundo Fernández Llorente 7 (1), Juan Martín Zubía 8 (7, four penalties and one corner). Total: 30.
Score RS Murus Sanctus: 2-1, 3-3, 7-3, 7-6, 10-7, 12-7, 14-9, 16-10.
Umpires: Matías Baibiene and Gonzalo López Vargas. Third Man: José I. Araya.´
BPP Polo Argentino: Cachiyuyo Millonaria (Open Iluminado x Chapa Mercedes). Player: Facundo Sola.
Dolfi Educada (Durazno x Cautiva). Player: Guillermo Caset.
Irenita Loli (Dolfina Cuarteto x Irenita Cuñada). Player: Facundo Fernández Llorente.
LA DOLFINA SAUDI 21-10 LA NATIVIDAD LAS MONJITAS
La Dolfina Saudi: Adolfo Cambiaso 10 (5 goals, 3 on penalties), David Stirling 10 (4), Pablo Mac Donough 10 (8, 3 on penalties), Juan Martín Nero 10 (4, 1 on penalties). Total: 40.
La Natividad Monjitas: Camilo Castagnola 8 (7, 3 on penalties), Pablo Pieres 10 (1), Bartolomé Castagnola 9 (1), Ignatius Du Plessis 9 (1). Total: 36.
Score La Dolfina Saudi: 4-1, 7-2, 8-4, 12-4, 14-5, 17-8, 19-9, 21-10.
Umpires: Gastón Lucero & Martín Pascual. Third Man: Guillermo Villanueva.
BPP Polo Argentino: Dolfina B03 Cuartetera-Clon 3 (Founder Dolfina Cuartetera). Player: Adolfo Cambiaso.
JM Varsovia (Dolfina Cuarteto x Viudita). Player: Juan Martín Nero.
JM Rumba (Open Chimento x Chapa Rachel). Player: Juan Martín Nero.
The 127th. Argentine Open will continue on Sunday:
12pm: Los Machitos vs. Cria Gete
5pm: Ellerstina vs La Dolfina Polo Ranch